Evgeny Svetlanov: Helen & Emil Gilels
Evgeny Svetlanov: Helen & Emil Gilels
In 2008 the outstanding conductor Evgeny Svetlanov would have turned 80 years old. Passing away not too long ago, on Easter Sunday of 2002, he left behind him a colossal artistic legacy. It is not only the famous “Anthology of Russian Orchestral Music,” featuring in itself almost all the works of the Russian classics, recorded in the “Melodiya” studio, but also recordings of music by composers from other countries, as well as numerous concerts, recorded on magnetic tape, not published up to the present day. These also include recordings done by Svetlanov the pianist as well as musical compositions by Svetlanov the composer…
- Disc number in the directory: MEL CD 1001471
- Recorded: 1968
- Release: 2015
After all, at the Gnessins’ Institute (presently the Gnessins’ Russian Music Academy) from which Svetlanov graduated he studied with Mikhail Gnessin himself, and at the Conservatory he was a student of Yuri Shaporin. His conducting teacher was Gauk, and soon the young pianist and composer decided to dedicate his efforts primarily to conducting. For a certain period of time he conducted on the radio, later – at the Bolshoi Theater and after the death of A.. Melik-Pashayev – also a student of Gauk – in 1963 Svetlanov became the chief conductor at the Bolshoi Theater. His work at the theater made a great imprint on the conducting manner – from hence in many ways one could trace his love towards the cantilena, tempi which are slower, as it were convenient for singing, elaboration of detail and a peculiar type of “orchestral mise-en-scenes”. Being an artist of a predominantly lyrical gift, he sought everywhere for points of junction between the lyrical and the epic, so common particularly for the Russian classics, which endowed his renditions with a special vigor, an ineffable grandeur. This exhibited itself in full measure in his work with the State Symphony Orchestra, of which he was appointed as the chief conductor in 1965, and with which he never parted almost until the end of his life. Having obtained the appellation of “Academic,” the State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Svetlanov became the chief orchestra of the USSR and maintained the leading positions up till the mid-1990s.
Long-term friendly and professional ties were established between the State Symphony Orchestra and the “Melodiya” record company, which was founded around that time, in 1964. The microphones of “Melodiya” could frequently be found standing during the conductor’s concerts and broadcast recordings, approved by Svetlanov himself, were frequently released. Nonetheless, the greater part of Svetlanov’s concert recordings have not come out on records or CD’s and are still stored in archives. To commemorate the anniversary of the remarkable musician “Melodiya” is releasing one of these recordings. The music of Tchaikovsky featured is the music of Tchaikovsky, the composer who, according to the common acclaim, Svetlanov was the most successful in interpreting. The State Symphony Orchestra is joined by Emil Gilels and his daughter Elena (it could frequently be heard how they performed together in a remarkable duo). Very characteristic is the program itself of the concert – together with the overture “Francesca da Rimini” and the First Piano Concerto, a number of rarely heard, posthumously published works by Tchaikovsky were heard – the Concert Overture from 1965 and the one-movement version of the Third Piano Concerto. Already at that time, in 1968, Russian music was no longer divided into “masterpieces” and “second rate music” – this wise approach of his was reflected, in fact, in the colossal “Anthology of Russian Orchestral Music.”
It is not only the lively atmosphere of the concert hall, recreated to us by the reel-to-reel tape from the age of forty years ago, that conveys the special living spirit of the joint artistry of Svetlanov and the two generations of Gilelses. We also include here a fragment of the rehearsal of a concert, recorded in its time for a possible movie assembly, and now endowed with an indubitable historical and documental value. This is a distinctive present from the “Melodiya” record company to all those who esteem the artistry of Evgeny Feodorovich Svetlanov.
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